Is this Asthma?

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I'm not sure if any of you can help me but I am looking for some advice.  My husband has had a cough for about 4 years now.  At first he was diagnosed as having asthma, but he then went to see another doctor in the same practice who said it wasn't asthma.  He had a chest x ray, which was clear and we had a CT scan done privately which revealed scars on his lungs.  His cough persisted and just before Christmas it was so bad that he went back to the doctor.  She heard the cough and said it sounded like asthma, so he had asthma again.  He was prescribed a blue and brown puffer.  His cough continued to get worse and had now turned very phlegmy.  He was coughing constantly day and night and his peak flows went down to 250.  He went back to the doctor again (the 4th time in as many weeks) who prescribed a 7 day course of prednisolone.  This improved his cough, although it was still there.  He stopped taking the prednisolone on Tuesday and by Thursday his cough was just as bad as it had been and back to waking him at night again.  And now, Sunday, he is still coughing.  Does this sound like asthma?  It's horrible listening to him suffer, I feel so helpless.  If he has been taking his blue and brown puffer, as prescribed, shouldn't he start to feel better by now?  I am worried that it is something other than asthma.

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5 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi, don't know if this will help you. I had pneumonia last may and was left with a "wet ,loose sounding cough, which gp said was probably asthma. Chest x rays etc all clear. Use a blue and purple inhaler. In December, after months of coughing went back to gp and she decided it was probably post nasal drip ( mucus hitting the back of the throat and mixing with stomach acid, which makes you cough). She gave me a nasal spray, which helped, but only a little. After searching through forums on this site, someone recommended a sinus rinse ( neilmed, available from chemists)...amazing, fantastic stuff. Well worth trying. My cough has all but disappeared. I'm sleeping right through the night, which I hadn't done for months, and feel so much better. Give it a go, hope it helps.
  • Posted

    I am not sure this will help you either.  I do not know what asthma "looks" like, I only know what it feels like. 

    If it's asthma, coughing is a sign that something is irritating the lungs.  It's not asthma oficially yet, it's like a warning signal that asthma will trigger, if the irritant is not removed. 

    Did you get a new perfume, or new pillow or anything new when he first started coughing?  Or did he get a new shampoo or did you both buy a cat or anything?  does he get the cough everywhere?  or just at home?  If it's asthma, there may be something irritating his lungs, trying to trigger an asthma attack.  Mucous is common with asthmatic lungs being irritated... but both the cough and the mucus are common for a lot of lung issues.    Also, if it's asthma that is being triggered by an irritant in the room/house, asthma medications will not work for very long.  I hope you both find relief and a correct diagnosis soon! smile

  • Posted

    Sorry about your husband. Please try a different doctor, this coughing sounds nothing like the normal persons asthma. Hurry up, all this coughing is not good.  Good Luck. 
  • Posted

    toffeecushuion - Hi, I REALLY hope you see this! But as its been 5 months since you posted and I don't see a response to other posters, I'm afraid you may not have checked back in here. I hope if you haven't it means that you found the answers you need elsewhere and that your husband is receiving the care that he needs.

    I'm 53 y/o and I've been sick for 16 1/2 yrs with a lung/respiratory condition that NO ONE has EVER SEEN! I'm know in my area by everyone as the "our favorite medical anomoly"! It's said "lovingly" from a place of concern. They want SO badly to "fix" me. And they can't. Saidly, I'm okay with that, but they aren't. We don't teach doctors to be comfortable with saying 'I don't know' when they exhausted all their possible answers. 

    In all these years I've had well over 30 hospitalizations for something that presents like asthma, will respond to an asthma treatment protocol - even though it may take 3-5 time longer than they think it should, and it always gets worse with treatment BEFORE it begins to get better. EVERYTHING is negative, xrays, CT scans, MRI's, blood work EVERYTHING. Yet in all these admissions, I've had to be intubated multiple times and have almost died as a result on 2, possibly 3 occasions that I'm aware of. In fact, I just got out of the hospital a few days ago after a week in medical ICU and being intubated for 2 days. Frankly, it was a BAD week! I actually lost 15 pounds (6.8kg) in ONE week! NOT they way I had in mind to lose any weight! But I"m home and doing better now.

    I only mention this to you, to assure you that I've got a little experience with this stuff as a patient, but I've also had some medical training. I've been on BOTH sides of the hospital bed!

    I'm VERY concerned about your husbad. And for ONE reason only! What he has, yes. It COULD be asthma. That said, your description of his condition and workup gave me pause for concern. Although you MUST understand and REMEMBER . . . NO ONE but a DOCTOR can make ANYTHING OTHER THAN A GUESS!!! I don't even know his full medical history! What you said that gave me pause for concern and doubt for the asthma diagnosis was that his xray showed scarring. Maybe there's good reason for that scarring. For example, I have some scarring in my right lung from an old lung/trauma injury from an auto accident, during which I broke (among MANY other things) all of my right ribs and pucntured and collapsed the same lung. It left some scarring and whats called consolidation in the base of the lung. Its not a problem for me so far as lung function goes, but every xray I get shows that I have some scarring. Also, some (pevious) illnesses CAN leave some scarring, but I would think he would surely have been told if that were the case. So, if there's an explanation for your husbands scarring like a physical trauma or from previous illness, I'm no longer concerned. If not. I'm still concerned. There is a list of pulmonary diseases that cause lung scarring that I would encourage you to research online, see if the symptoms match up. Then, if they do, talk to your husbands doctor and let them know! If they are unwilling to consider the possibility, FIND ANOTHER DOCTOR. You have to remember, doctors are only human too. They can't ALWAYS figure it out. Sometimes they need our help. YOU MUST be your own advocate. You may not KNOW whats wrong or have the KNOWLEDGE to diagnose yourself, (even doctors are taught that's a no-no!) BUT that said . . .  NO ONE knows YOUR BODY like YOU!!! Illness is a state of DIS - EASE in the body. The body goes into a state of  DIS - EASE to warn us that something is wrong and that it needs you to take action to help it get back to a state of EASE. 

    So, I'd like to encourage you to do a PROLONGED Google search on 'INTERSTIAL LUNG DISEASE'. It's what is called an UMBRELLA diagnosis, in that there are over 130 disorders that fit under that "umbrella". You won't find all of them, but the big ones will pop up for you to see. As I recall,  some of them cause symptoms very similar to what I hear you discribing in your husbands case. I do actually have a specific one in mind, BUT I'm NOT going to mention it for the simple reason that I don't want to bias your reading and perception of the situation. The one I have in mind WILL be one that will pop up in your search, pretty quickly in fact. I URGE YOU, CONCENTRATE on the symptoms listed ONLY, NOT the scary stuff you'll read. Most of it is going to be very difficult for you to understand unless you've had the medical training to understand it. That makes it sound a LOT more scary sometimes than it should. When you don't understand what you're reading and how to properly place or pull that piece from the puzzle at the appropriate time, you can find out VERY QUICKLY that you were freaking out over NOTHING! That's really important to remember. It's also why doctors don't allow patients to read test results until they are there to go over them with you! Try not to worry, UNITL someone actually TELLS you something that is worthy of that time and energy. It's best used in other more consturctive ways! Don't allow yourself to live from a place of fear and anxiety! YOU have control over that! But it is a CONCIOUS CHOICE. You'll do better at it at times than you will at other times, but you must always try to keep it under control. 

    I truly hope you see this, but if you don't, maybe it will help someone else. I wish you and your husband the best and I pray that you find the answers that you need soon. I really really understsand how hard not knowing can be! ;-)

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